Jon Niese was able to look at his performance in Saturday’s 7-3 win over the Cubs as a “step forward.”

He has Vic Black to thank for that.

Niese, cruising for most of his start, unraveled in the seventh and only a brilliant job out of the bullpen from Black kept the Mets comfortably ahead.

Given a 7-1 lead after a four-run sixth, Niese surrendered a leadoff homer to Justin Ruggiano. It was the first of five consecutive hits he allowed before being removed with the bases loaded and no one out and the cushion down to four.

“ ‘Just please help me out,’ ” Niese said he thought as he left the game. “I was in a tough spot.”

Manager Terry Collins called on Black to get them out of trouble with the top of the order coming up and he responded by getting Chris Coghlan to fly out to shallow left, Javier Baez to pop to first and Anthony Rizzo to pop to short.

When asked if he wanted to limit the damage when he entered, Black said he had a different goal.

“I was thinking no damage,” Black said. “I’m thinking, ‘Those are my runs’ and I have to figure out a way to do it.”

Black delivered.